The State Department is denying reports on Monday that Secretary of State John Kerry has ordered the dismantling of his team of Middle East peace negotiators following the breakdown of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority last month.
The deputy spokesperson at the State Department, Marie Harf, told reporters in Washington on Monday that it was “incorrect” to suggest that Washington was dissolving its team of negotiators in the region.
Harf was responding to questions about reports in the Israeli press over the weekend claiming that American officials held Israel primarily responsible for the collapse in negotiations. According to the Hebrew-language tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth, the Obama administration viewed Israel’s refusal to consider a halt to settlement construction so as to allow for one last chance to salvage the negotiations as a key factor in their failure.
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